World of Elements

This has been a passion project of mine for two years now. Avatar: The Last Airbender is my favorite show ever. Apocalypse World has forever changed my RPG experience. Mashing the two has been a blast. Watching Samurai Champloo has reinvigorated my interest in this game and my design philosophy has changed a bit since then. I’ve updated the rules in small ways: making the rewards of play more obvious and streamlined, cleaning up some of the jargon, making combat fewer rolls and more impactful and fixing the backend numbers for balance’s sake.

Here are the rules.

Here’s the character sheet.

Here’s the first few pages in blog form to help you get a sense of the world and moves:

WELCOME TO WORLD OF ELEMENTS

World of Elements is a universe of incredible adventure containing elemental bending, fantastic cultures, spirits, and wild creatures. You play as brave heroes that venture out to explore and restore peace in the world.


WHAT IS WORLD OF ELEMENTS?

World of Elements is a roleplaying game that fashions a story through the conversation between the participants. One of these participants will be the Guide, who sets the scene, portrays other characters in the world, and adjudicates the rules. Everyone else takes on the role of heroes that inhabit the world.

Although paper, pencils, and dice are involved, the core of the game is a conversation; the Guide tells the players what is happening, the players tell the Guide what their characters do in response, and the Guide describes how their actions in turn affect the world.

WHAT YOU NEED TO PLAY

  • 3-6 participants, one acts as the Guide.
  • A copy of the rules reference.
  • A character sheet for each player.
  • A pair of six-sided dice (d6s), preferably one set for each player.
  • Paper and pencils for each participant.

STATS
Heroes have Stats to show how successful they are likely to be while doing certain types of actions.

  • Fluid is being adaptable, quick, and flexible.
  • Solid is being strong, resolute, and independent.
  • Hot is being temperamental, volatile, and passionate.
  • Natural is being sociable, balanced, and connected.
  • Sharp is being intelligent, perceptive, and alert.

HOW TO USE MOVES
When you perform an action that would trigger this Move, roll 2d6 and add one of your Stats, based on the action you are taking. The Guide may tell you possible consequences before rolling.

  • On a 10+ you do it without complication.
  • On a 7-9  you do it, but there’s some cost, compromise, harm, etc. 
  • On a 6-  things don’t go well and you suffer the consequences.

If a specific move does not list the effects of rolling a 10+, 7-9, or 6-, refer to the move template above for guidance. If a move tells a player to “take +1 forward” they add 1 to their next roll.  

STRESS
Heroes may be dealt Stress as a consequence of their actions. Weak harm gives 1 Stress, Strong harm gives 2 Stress, and Extreme harm gives 3 Stress. Stress comes in physical, emotional, social, and spiritual forms.

When any character fills their last Stress box, they are Taken Out. Taken Out characters cannot act until tended to. If one side has Taken Out all members of the opposing side, they decide what happens to them.

CHI

Chi represents the reserve of experience and fortune that you obtain as you bravely adventure. Heroes receive Chi from fulfilling Oaths and at the end of each session. When a hero has enough Chi, they may make the Advance move.

END OF SESSION

At the end of each session, the Guide will ask the group the following questions:

  • Did we learn something new and interesting about the world?
  • Did we restore peace and balance?
  • Did we work together as a team?

For each “yes” all heroes gain 1 Chi.

MOVES

OVERCOME

When you overcome opposition or danger by being…

  • adaptable, quick, and flexible, roll +Fluid.
  • strong, resolute, and independent, roll +Solid.
  • temperamental, volatile, and passionate, roll +Hot.
  • sociable, balanced, and connected, roll +Natural.
  • intelligent, perceptive, and alert, roll +Sharp.

On a 10+ you overcome the opposition or danger. On a 7-9, you also stumble, hesitate, or flinch: the Guide will offer you a worse outcome or hard choice.

BEND

When you control an element with an Ability, roll +Bending. On a 10+ you do it. On a 7-9, there is also a consequence or trouble to go with.

EVADE

When you attempt to avoid a physical, emotional, social, or spiritual consequence, roll +Fluid. On a 10+ you avoid its effects. On a 7-9, there is also a choice to be made or price to be paid.

ATTACK

When you strike a target, roll +Hot. On a 10+ you deal Stress to the target. As an option, you may deal 1 additional Stress, but open yourself to a counterattack. On a 7-9 you still deal Stress to the target, but they get to strike back.

BRACE

When you suffer Stress, the Guide will say how much initially. Then roll +Solid. On a 12+ reduce the Stress taken by 2. On a 10 or 11 reduce the Stress taken by 1. On a 7-9 you suffer Stress as normal. On a 6- you suffer Stress and an additional debility, injury, consequence, or more Stress.

ASSESS

When you spend time closely studying a situation, object, or person, roll +Sharp. On a 10+ the Guide will tell you something interesting and useful. On a 7-9 the Guide will only tell you something interesting. It is up to you to make it useful.

PERSUADE

When you attempt to convince an NPC who will or must listen to you, describe how you do it. If you persuade…

  • through honorable means, roll +Natural.
  • through forceful means, roll +Hot.
  • through deceptive means, roll +Fluid.

On a 10+ they do as you ask, but may harbor resentment against you or distrust you for a time. On a 7–9, you must also swear an Oath to them first.

RECOVER

When you spend time recuperating, describe how you do it and roll +Natural. On a 12+ you remove 5 Stress. On a 10 or 11 you remove 3 Stress. On a 7-9 you remove 2 Stress. On a 6- you remove 1 Stress. If you are in a Sanctuary, remove all Stress.

ASSIST/HINDER

When you get involved in someone else’s actions, roll and add the relevant Stat (see Overcome). On a 10+ you may choose to increase the target’s roll from 6- to 7-9 or from 7-9 to 10+ or decrease the target’s roll from 10+ to 7-9 or from 7-9 to 6-. On a 7-9 you also suffer a consequence in order to get involved.

ADVANCE

When you rest and reflect on your adventures, you may spend 5 Chi to pick a new Ability from the Archetype or Advanced Archetype lists or receive +1 to a Stat for a maximum total of +2. You may not pick an Ability you already have.

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